Ithaca Blog

Monday, September 20, 2010

Commons Finds You Can't Partly Quit Smoking

Six weeks after its start, the city of Ithaca has declared the partial ban of smoking on the Commons a failed experiment, and decided to ban smoking on the pedestrian mall entirely.

The partial ban prohibited smoking in the center of the Commons, near the pavilion and the playground. But the result was not to reduce smoking, only to relocate smokers into smaller areas, intensifying second-hand smoke in these areas to intolerable levels for passers-by and adjacent businesses.

Outdoor dining in the smoking areas fell off to next to nothing. Businesses in the smoking areas were forced to keep doors closed. Fights between non-smokers and smokers - about the borders and other issues - were daily, if not hourly, and spirited, when not vituperative or even violent.

Our business, Small World Music, inside Autumn Leaves Books, is on the border of the smoking/non-smoking areas. Originally we supported the partial ban (see our July 28 post here on Ithaca Blog), but can attest first-hand to the failure.

We support the ban, and commend city officials for so quickly recognizing and fixing the failed policy.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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